40 days

02paigeknudsen.com

i think most of my life i’ve been a little confused about lent. maybe i thought it was basically a time for “whatcha givin’ up?” or maybe i just didn’t have my act together & it was already the lenten season and i was already behind? like that even makes any sense at all. but maybe you get what i mean.

for some reason this year i feel like i finally get it. and i’ve been eager for lent to begin.

this morning i sat to write to you about these 40 days. i turned on pandora & chose the christy nockels channel. “already all i need” began to play. i pulled up a few of my friends post about lent so i could restart my thoughts. i began to read edie say “Lent is not about you, it’s about Him and him.” and “The reason we want to practice self-discipline is actually not for ourselves—it’s for our neighbor, so that all of the things that keep us in bondage, the things that keep us from rightly serving our people can be stripped away.”

tears began to fill up my eyes as i read those words & heard the following:

walking through this life without Your freedom in my heart
is like holding on to shackles that You have torn apart
so remind me of Your promises and all that You have done
in this world I will have trouble
but you have overcome
and every gift that I receive You determine just for me
but nothing I desire compares to You

why has my thinking been all jacked up and making lent about me and my whatever? gosh. conviction is no fun but we all need it to be the catalyst for change.

so less focus on myself and how i chose to spend my time & more focus on jesus…and that he’s already all i need.  so in thinking about what to give up or leave behind during these 40 days  it didn’t take more than a fleeting moment to decide what one of those things could be. what we choose isn’t a contest of who’s is bigger or is it even some marker of our spirituality. its just a step in the direction of walking, or running, or some days stumbling  our way to more of jesus.

speaking of which,

i saw a human interest story yesterday about a young highschool runner with multiple sclerosis. her story of determination is quite an inspiration. she basically took her diagnosis as motivation for change. “Since I know that my mobility is a gift right now, I guess I make every day that I run as best I can, so I don’t waste that gift”. so yeah. guess what. she’s become one of the fastest distance runners…in the country!

so what does this have to do with lent?

here’s how i see it.

the sacrifice christ gave us at the cross is the gift that we’ve each been given. this past several months i feel such an urgency to make sure i don’t waste that gift….in my prayer life, in my heart, in my home life, in relationships with my girls, in the legacy i want to be remembered by, in how i advocate for artisans living in poverty, and in my blog for crying out loud.

in an attempt not to waste the gift, i want to be fully relying on god for everything. not financial security. not a  neat & tidy life all about me & my little world. not about statistics with my blog readership. sometimes that sounds easy & all yeah i’m in yet day after day i can see myself in my same patterns, in my same habits.

here’s another way i saw this story and the visual reminder it gave me. during the story, not only do we see kayla overcoming obstacles, we see that as she finishes her races her legs crumble underneath her when she stops running. her coach is at the finish line & literally whisks her up before she can fall. not only was that a tender moment in the story, it was a powerful glimpse of how our heavenly father is cheering us on all along and is right there…and he is already all we need….waiting to whisk us up into his arms.

so for lent i’m spending considerably less time on facebook. a lot of communication & encouragement among the noonday team occurs there & i don’t want to disconnect completely from that. facebook is also a place where i share previews from photo sessions & basically have communication with clients….so i really can’t walk away from it completely but what i can do is stop sitting on here for ridiculous amounts of time and just perusing. i don’t have to have it pulled up in a tab & check everytime a notification rolls in. so i’ll check morning & evening until lent is over…and honestly may keep it within those limits from now on. and i’m committed to spending time, during the day, not just at bed time when i’m sorta sleepy anyways, & spending that time in prayer , journaling and reading scripture. there are several online tools i’m checking in with & i have this super nifty journal from naptime diaries.

 

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here are a few places i’ve found that share beautiful & powerful thoughts on lent as well

edie

ann

jessi

i’m also enjoying this daily devotional as well. i found this list there today & love how it reminds us….it’s not just the give-up, it’s how we fill-up with jesus.

  • Having given up junk food for a healthy diet, what will you do with the energy you gain?
  • Having given up reading magazines, what will you read now?
  • Having given up Facebook, to whom will you devote meaningful conversation?
  • Having given up lunch, how will you rely on God for the strength of “food from heaven”?
  • Having given up TV as a default activity, how will you use that time to cultivate quality family time?
  • Having given up isolation, how will you immerse yourself in community?
  • Having given up shopping, will you see those who need clothing in your city?
  • Having sacrificed whatever form of selfishness you indulge, how will you meet the needs of others?

04paigeknudsen.comLead me to the cross where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees, Lord, I lay me down
Rid me of myself, I belong to You
Oh, lead me, lead me to the cross

(hillsong united)

 

March 6, 2014 - 3:50 pm

Amy Avery - Paige, you’ve got it! You are living the true meaning of Lent. As I have known you here in this space I have seen how God works in and through you and transforms you as you have time and time and time again moved over and out of the way to make room for God’s light to shine through. You have told us all that you are not perfect and, WOW, how amazing that truly is that you say those words, because when you have and do, you open up the door of your soul to allow God’s perfect love to shine through. And in turn you transform and allow others to be transformed as well. You are an Easter person, and what I mean by that is that you come to the cross time and time again and you allow that holy death and resurrection to move in you and transform you. You grow in God’s love and you grow more beautiful as his love is transferred from your hands to others. You say you are looking forward to Lent this year and it is because as you described you know that God is doing something in you as you give up “self” and allow him to move in and transform you into an ever closer relationship with him through your love and sacrifice for others. I am so blessed to know you here and to witness the wonderful ways in which you serve God and others through your trust in him. xoxo

March 6, 2014 - 4:08 pm

Heidi @ Decor & More - I’m totally on your same page, Paige! I grew up giving up something for Lent – sweets, gum, swear words, a TV show. But in recent years I’ve been giving something up while adding a new practice to deepen my faith. It’s been life changing and I find myself looking forward to the 40 days of preparing my heart and soul for his death and resurrection. I’ve got the same journal this year so I’m relishing that new practice so far. Feels good to dig deeper! Blessing to you, my dear.
Xo Heidi

March 6, 2014 - 6:17 pm

Nancy - Bingo!
I stopped giving up “things” a few years back and started giving “more” of myself. And once that started during those 40 days, it was easy to continue on the rest of the time!

March 6, 2014 - 6:30 pm

Kim from 3 peanuts - beautiful Paige! I absolutely LOVE Lent. I always have. It give me a boundary of discipline that I am thirsty for in my faith. I love the exercise of contemplating the parts of life that take me away from God. And I love that I cannot lie to myself about it cause God is the one I am talking to here.

So, I have always given up or worked on things that are problems for me (shopping, blogging one year, Facebook this year). I know those things make me less connected to the Lord. I know they take my eyes of Him. I set really clear rules for myself and I love trying to stick to them but I know that doesn’t make me a better Christian or win favor from God. I just know that the more I give to Him, the happier I am. It is the season when I ‘get it” the most if that makes sense.

I also try to minimize all the material good around us during this time. I am reading the Jy of less and doing a ruthless purge of our house. I have always done 40 bags in 40 days but this is more. This is a deep exercise in really thinking about what you need and what you use and how things take us away from God. I really really LOVE Lent.

And I agree, usually the changes I make last longer than 4 days cause I realize how good they were:)

March 6, 2014 - 6:34 pm

Lori H - As usual, Paige, lots of food for thought in your post. Thanks.

March 6, 2014 - 9:15 pm

Deborah - What a beautiful post Paige.

March 13, 2014 - 11:01 am

Alecia - This is my first year to observe Lent. I grew up in a church that never taught or observed lent. Since moving to Oklahoma City I found that majority of the churches here actually observe this season…not just the liturgical churches, which I grew up believing were the only churches that celebrated Lent. In this first week I’ve decided to get up & have my quiet time before work. This is so hard for me as I’m a night owl & it’s SOOOO hard to get up in the morning. But if Jesus isn’t BETTER! I had the best first morning where the Lord really spoke to me in those sweet quiet moments and I was eager to continue…couldn’t wait for the next. Then time change happened & it’s been extremely difficult to adjust. I’ve been reminded of my need for Him & His strength. I was reminded that He didn’t give up during His 40 days in the wilderness & He certainly didn’t give up as He carried the cross and died on the cross in my place. It’s an incredibly humble feeling. I too am using the journal from NTD and really enjoying the scriptures selected…they’ve been well timed words for sure. I’m also using a devotional my church provided. I am thankful for Edie…I really looked to her blog to help me understand what it’s all about when I first started contemplating Lent. So helpful & I can’t wait to check out the other blogs as well as the story of the runner. Thanks for sharing & thanks for pointing us to Jesus!